The Evolution of linkedin Groups

HIPB2B has been running its Demand Generation and Content Marketing Group for a decade this year.

The group of more than 8.4k came to be through the diligent efforts of CEO and Founder, Bret Smith, vetting and adding each person to the group throughout its history.

Our team posts and interacts in the group on a daily basis and posts in it several times a week.

Throughout the years, LinkedIn has made countless small changes to the Groups aspect of the website.

Let’s look through some of those changes:

2003  

LinkedIn went live in May 2003. It’s one of the oldest social media platforms.

2004

LinkedIn Groups were added as a part of the functionality.

2011

Demand Generation and Content Marketing Group was created by CEO Bret Smith.

2015

In 2015, LinkedIn groups were changed to be standard or unlisted, from a model that included four different types of groups. Groups were changed to be either open for everyone to join, or are invite only.

  • This meant that members looking to join a group can’t see the content that was posted within it.
  • Any member can approve a request to join a group.
  • Moderators were stripped of the ability to moderate conversations before they enter the group, while LinkedIn claimed to have beefed up its spam algorithm to compensate.
  • Added the ability to add graphics to group posts.
  • Members can now @ other members, adding a new layer of direct conversation.
  • Subgroups were removed, all subgroups are now groups.
  • The promotions tab was removed.

2016

Microsoft bought LinkedIn in June.

2017

LinkedIn moved away from Groups as a focus and moved them to a less visible section. Users weren’t able to access them easily.

2018

LinkedIn renewed its focus on groups. This included:

  • Bringing Groups back to the homepage.
  • Content shared in Groups will be shared on the news feed.
  • The ability to @other members returned.

Some features were eliminated including:

  • Featured posts were added.
  • Post titles have disappeared.
  • Moderation of content before it is posted is removed.
  • Group announcements disappeared.

2019

LinkedIn made a series of smaller changes to improve still waning engagement numbers. They include:

  • Added a highlight bar which contains all the group posts in a sort of news feed-like system.
  • Changed the interface of individual groups to look like the main Groups page.
  • Added notifications when connections post in a group.
  • Owners are given the ability to moderate posts again.
  • Group cover images were added.

2020

In 2020, LinkedIn saw a 55% increase in conversations among connections in 2020, content creation increased by 60%, and LinkedIn Livestreams increased by 437% in 2020.

When the in-person world shut down, agile folks turned to digital to get their interactions in. Here are some of the changes Groups experiences in 2020:

  • Group owners can now allow admins to moderate posts.
  • Group owners can allow and prevent members from inviting connections to join the group.
  • Admins can use new filters to find a member.
  • Admins can delete all posts by a member.
  • Admins can block members.
  • Members can search for content in a group using keywords.
  • Users can now message anyone in the group.

In a lot of ways, it seems that LinkedIn was about ready to give up on Groups, but then realized that these small communities were the future of social media.  They’ve experimented with a lot of aspects of Groups.

What do you think of the most recent changes to LinkedIn? What would you change as a group member, admin, or owner?


Also published on Medium.

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